Zelensky and Zaluzhny, the president and the general at antipodes but complementary: incompatibility is the secret behind the Ukrainian successes – Il Fatto Quotidiano

Take a young man full of life and always smiling who doesn’t know he’s the involuntary protagonist of a show in which everything appears to be real but is actually fiction. He is not the Truman Show but the last year of life of Volodymyr Zelensky who at one point, in the days following 24 February, really risked saying goodbye with the iconic greeting: “In case I don’t see you again… good afternoon, good evening and good night!”. In order to prepare the defenses of theUkraineinstead of instructing him on what to do, they left him “acting live”. Who did that? No doubt, it was by his own admission Valeriy Zaluzhnyhead of the Armed Forces of Kiev.

The Ukrainian president and super general they don’t particularly like each other and they never agreed across the board. Indeed, they never really discussed all the moves and above all he was never the first to dictate the line on the war, he just suffered it. Of course, the fact that among them there is no complicity that characterized the relations between Abraham Lincoln And Ulysses Grant it does not mean that their relationship does not work or that Zaluzhny aims to replace his superior: it is the intrigues of the political class and the “rotten apples” of his entourage, not the Chief of Staff he himself made four star general and above all he placed at the head of the Armed Forces before he had even turned 49. To understand each other, only people like Douglas MacArthur she managed to have such early careers in the military. On the other hand, ours had years of service behind him only in the ranks of the Ukrainian army: he hadn’t had time to enroll in the military academy in Odessa beforeSoviet Union it had disintegrated. In short, Zaluzhny offered the advantage of not having friendly comrades a Fly it’s at Minsk. Indeed, in his degree thesis he had analyzed the military structure of the United Statesnoting how the Ukrainian forces were weighed down by the Soviet model which was based on a rigid decision-making process.

The president and the precocious general had begun to meet regularly in 2019, at the time of the election of the former comedian as head of state, in the midst of the war in Donbass. Realizing that he had to inform a person completely ignorant of military strategy and tactics, who did not even have the experience of military service, on the progress of the war, the future head of the Armed Forces did not insist on involving him in the decision-making processes, fearing to find himself a amateur grappling with difficult decisions for a strategist. To his great satisfaction, the military man found himself seconded by his boss, perhaps more concerned with not making disasters than with finding glory. From Donbass to the Russian invasion, Zelensky did not change his approach, avoiding putting his nose directly into military matters. On closer inspection, it is the exact opposite of what its counterpart did Vladimir Putin who often directed the troops no more and no less than a senior officer.

This strange relationship between the political leader and the strategist was decisive before and after February 24th. It was convenient for the military to give the Russians to drink the Truman Show by Zelensky. After all, if a Fly they were convinced that they were dealing with a cocaine-addicted leader leading a bunch of incompetent people, why make him change his mind? So the Ukrainians, under orders from Zaluzhny, have feigned naivety and unpreparedness, sending forth the political leader and his sincerely optimistic declarations, while in reality every man and every means was in its place, after weeks of exercises and reproaches from the demanding general. But it wasn’t an agreed staging: Zelensky was acting in real life and for this reason his show was more convincing when he said he didn’t believe in a Russian aggression. Then, waking up as if from a nightmare, he saved his credibility by not running away from Kiev and making the best of the fact that no one had prevented him from making that string of mistakes, in order to cover up the real defense plans. After six days of war, with the leader still in the capital, the Russians had failed to conquer the capital strategic airports around Kiev (indeed, they had seen their best forces wiped out) and had advanced overland deep enough to begin to strain the supply linesleaving them exposed to the raids of Zaluzhny’s men.

Meanwhile, without the president and the media realizing it, the general had given his men the order to be free, if under attack, to return fire in the NATO manner. “with any weapon available”without needing the permission of their superiors, while the Russians have always taken between 30 minutes and 4 hours to know which fish to take.

Then, the military allowed the president and his advisers to spend the summer publicizing the preparations for a large-scale operation to reconquer territory in the South. The Kremlin he took the bait and started to reposition troopsto strengthen its positions a Kherson. When on August 29 the Ukrainian army announced the beginning of the long-awaited southern offensive, it seemed that Moscow was about to parry the blow: instead, with a very rapid and truly surprising maneuver, the Ukrainians attacked to the north-east, freeing Izyum and almost all the region around Kharkov, but above all by reopening the games in Donbass. Hiding behind the talkative naivety of the leader still worked.

Thus, Zaluzhny ended up planting the stakes even in the negotiations managed by politicians, stating in a statement that the Armed Forces intend to fight as long as they have the strength and that their goal is liberate all Ukrainian land from Russian occupation. “We will not stop on this road under any circumstances,” she concluded. The speech did not make the president’s staff stand on end: the general is now a savior of the fatherland. And he doesn’t have a single bit of optimism: he concluded his interview with Time saying that, as he knows the Russians, a victory for Ukraine in the current war will not be final, but will only give them an opportunity to catch their breath and prepare for the next war. It is not known whether Zelensky agrees, but it will soon be understood.

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Zelensky and Zaluzhny, the president and the general at antipodes but complementary: incompatibility is the secret behind the Ukrainian successes – Il Fatto Quotidiano


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